Desert X, Dazzling and Surreal, Opens

How to sum up a site-specific art biennial that stretches over several dozen miles through the desert, both within the hearts of cities as well as in remote and wilder locales? An every-two-years event that has now become a darling of Instagram as well as a route to contemplating a host of important topics, from the environmental to societal to the personal? A go-at-your-own-pace, follow-the-app experience that’s free? In short: Any sum-up would be a disservice to this celebrated winter-to-spring spectacular, which just made its much-anticipated debut in and around Palm Springs.

And we do mean “around” in the most generous sense, for several pieces may be found close to the Salton Sea, as well as near Indio and in Desert Hot Springs. Keep in mind that a few things may require a free ticket or pass (entering the Salton Sea State Recreation Area has a fee, but there are passes at the Desert X hubs), and you can go in any order, and even spread out your looking-around over a several days. Downloading the app, and stopping by a Desert X hub for a map and information, is key.

“Dive-In” from Superflex, a pink monolithic structure that asks us to ponder the sea that once existed in the desert, is already quite the hit on social media, just days after Desert X’s Feb. 9 debut. Another eye-dazzling treat is “Specter” by Sterling Ruby, found near Highway 111 close to the 10 Freeway. All of the pieces, and there are a dozen and a half to explore, have something important to relay, beauty to share, and mystery to impart.

The final day to dip into this installation-amazing extravaganza of contemporary art? Desert X must fade, like a desert wind, on April 21, 2019.

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